Caol Ila 18 Review – An Approachable Islay

Caol Ila 18

Located on the eastern coast of the Islay region in Scotland just across the straight from Jura, Caol Ila can trace its roots back to 1846.  However, the current large-production distillery, sitting on the site of the original distillery, was completed just over 40 years ago.   Expansion was warranted as Coal Ila positioned itself to a supplier for outside blenders.   Not surprisingly,  it is now owned by Diageo.

Caol Ila is often known as one of the more approachable Islay whiskies, which are known for their extreme smoked peat character.  Caol Ila’s offerings, however, often soften the harsh smoke with floral, peppery and fruity notes.  Because of this softer approach to smoke and peat, much of Caol Ila’s production is used by Diageo in other branded blends (like Johnnie Walker) or sold to outside blended scotch producers.

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Knob Creek Single Barrel Select Experience

Knob Creek Single Barrel

Mash bill. Barrel char level. Which rickhouse floor. There are many variables that contribute to what makes each bourbon brand unique. But, even within a particular brand, a slight variation to any particular variable also yields notable differing characteristics. What if you could isolate a few variables within a particular brand to compare the results?

Scott Hill and I were fortunate enough to engage in this exercise. Thanks to R&J Discount Liquor‘s willingness to share, we were able to test three samples of Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve. The store received the samples to select which barrel they will used for their own store pick Knob Creek Single Barrel selection.

[Click here to see R&J’s final selection and where to purchase a bottle!] 

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February 2017 Pick of the Month

Each month, Flight Club selects a club-endorsed “Pick of the Month.”  The parameters on the Pick of the Month are (a) locally available in Wichita, Kansas (b) under $40 and (c) something believed to be a good value or limited availability at the moment.  We invite everyone (Club members or not) to break open a bottle and us comment and feedback. 

Bottle:  Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel (R&J Discount Liquor Store Pick)

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